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Thursday, June 6, 2024

‘Bayot’ and queer labels: Exploring Cebuanos’ view on SOGIE

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CEBU CITY, Philippines — “Bayot! Yads! Tomboy!”

For years, these have been phrases branded as slurs that had been used to name Cebuano queer people, and sometimes insinuated to demean them.

As norms advanced, queer teams and people have banded collectively to reclaim these phrases, proudly owning them as part of their identification and tearing off every negatively connected connotation of the names little by little.

This can be a results of the decades-long social battle by the lesbian, homosexual, bisexual, transgender, and queer neighborhood (LGBTQ neighborhood) in days previous, who walked unpaved pathways to make the lifetime of younger queers a tiny bit higher.


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As we have fun Pleasure Month this June, it’s time to replicate on how the influence of the continuing queer liberation continues to be echoing by way of the societal modifications which might be mirrored within the experiences amongst younger Cebuano queers.

That features acknowledging how sure queer-directed slurs have modified definitions all through time.

For that matter, this text goals to redefine what these reclaimed phrases imply for Cebuano queers, what different phrases they’ve give you to explain themselves, and the way these replicate how they view gender and sexuality as ideas.

Thriving Cebuano queer tradition

As some could declare, Cebu is a comparatively protected area for queer-identifying people.

With the thriving queer scenes and relationship tradition, it’d shock a couple of how Cebu has its drawbacks on the subject of totally different hurdles that may have set again the queer liberation a couple of years in the past.

Mark, a 24-year-old gay male name middle agent, brings to gentle how these execs and cons have an effect on queers like him as he takes us to journey of what it feels prefer to be a cis-male queer dwelling in Cebu.

In an interview with CDN Digital, he explains how there are many locations to be for a male queer in Cebu. He claimed that if a enjoyable evening watching drag queens is what you want, Sunday evening in a membership in Mandaue has one thing good to give you.

'Bayot' and queer labels: Exploring Cebuanos' view on SOGIE

(Left) Nicole Pardaux in her promo shoot for Drag Race Philippines Season 2 and (Proper) Maria Lava in her promo shoot for Drag Den: Retribution | Photograph: Drag Race Philippines, Drag Den PH / Instagram

Cebu is the house of some proficient drag queens. Actually, the province has despatched no less than two drag queens to nationwide drag competitions. Nicole Pardaux, the “face of Cebu Drag,” competed within the second season of Drag Race Philippines. In the meantime, Maria Lava, the drag mom of the “Home of Lava,” showcased her expertise within the second season of Drag Den.

Aside from them, different proficient Cebuano drag artists have been performing in quite a few golf equipment, occasions, and native exhibits all around the metropolis. Different performers even date again their performances from many years, with some reportedly beginning their native careers in barangay occasions.

As such, Mark additionally claimed that the majority institutions in Cebu don’t discriminate in opposition to queer individuals usually, which included same-sex {couples} on dates and homosexual group hang-outs. Even so, there are occasional circumstances the place trans girls report discrimination in some nightclubs.

Cebu’s queer relationship scene

Curiously, Mark additionally claimed that the queer relationship scene in Cebu is as thriving as its drag tradition. He particulars how queer persons are greater than free to specific their love and affection in public locations by holding fingers in malls and going additional as kissing in nightclubs.

“There are numerous issues to like about homosexual relationship in Cebu,” he stated as he laughed. “I discover it humorous how nearly each queer is related with one other queer by way of a string of relationships. If you’re a queer who met a homosexual particular person, he has most likely dated a queer who dated one other queer who dated you.”

'Bayot' and queer labels: Exploring Cebuanos' view on SOGIE

A neon gentle signal that reads “Love Wins” in a preferred night-out spot amongst queers in Cebu Metropolis | Photograph: Censored / Fb

Whereas Mark finds these relationship strings humorous, these romantic relationships, which in some circumstances flip into sexual relationships, even have disadvantages, particularly when these intercourses are carried out with out the wanted safety by way of contraceptives.

Within the first eight months of 2023 alone, the Division of Well being logged 980 new recognized HIV sufferers in Central Visayas––nearly all of that are from Cebu. The most typical mode of transmission, which consists of three out of 10 of the full circumstances, is from unprotected male-to-male sexual contact.

Aside from the chance of HIV transmission when traversing the queer relationship scene, Mark additionally disclosed different social and particular issues that he has confronted.

“One factor I hate about being homosexual right here in Cebu is how tough it’s. There are a number of necessities to suit their requirements, and more often than not, they solely impose these on what they’re on the lookout for, not on themselves,” Mark stated within the interview.

One thing that Mark has famous is how male queers are usually selective primarily based on bodily look, particularly with most queers leaning in the direction of selecting masculine-presenting queers versus those that are effeminate.

Native queer acceptance

Aside from the colourful takes of Michael on what it’s prefer to be a queer man in Cebu, the native authorities models in Cebu have taken strides in championing queer liberation by way of current guidelines and ordinances.

In an essential milestone, town council in Mandaue Metropolis handed a complete lesbian, homosexual, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) code in February 2016, which seeks to guard the rights of the queer neighborhood underneath the Invoice of Rights.

It’s touted as one of many first queer-focused ordinances handed within the nation to guard the liberty of identification and expression, making Mandaue one of many first “queer-friendly” cities within the Philippines.

'Bayot' and queer labels: Exploring Cebuanos' view on SOGIE

The LGBTQIA neighborhood in Mandaue Metropolis has lined up a number of actions in keeping with its celebration of Pleasure Month together with the return of Pleasure March.

Traditionally, Cebu organized its very first delight march in 2017 with a joint effort of quite a few native non-governmental organizations––an annual custom regularly upheld even lately, aside from a two-year hiatus because of the protocols caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Within the very first march, Cebuano queers champion the milestones they’ve achieved in forwarding true liberation by way of the liberty to specific one’s identification.

Following go well with, the pinnacle of the native authorities of Cebu Metropolis signed Metropolis Ordinance No. 2660, which goals to create a physique geared toward defending the rights and monitoring the welfare of the native queer neighborhood.

Even with this authorized growth, Cebuano queers nonetheless face tons of discrimination which, as per Mark’s vicarious experiences, largely comes from on-line mobs searching for to invalidate lived experiences of in style queer individuals who publish about their relationships and identification expression by judging them primarily based on outdated stereotypes and jeering at them for being who they’re.

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Cebuano queer labels

Amid such ongoing discrimination, Cebuano queers stay headstrong by selecting to reclaim the jeering and name-calling thrown at them and redefining it to match the identification they select for themselves.

As promised, listed below are some native names that Mark and different Cebuano queers select to label themselves and different queer people as they’ve broadly used for the previous years:

Cebuano Queer labels

“bayot” | Inventory photograph


Based on Mark, this time period typically refers to queer individuals usually, very like the time period queer and homosexual as outlined in Western international locations. Most particularly, the time period refers to a 3rd gender that doesn’t fall underneath the umbrella of men and women. In that sense, a bayot could signify a neighborhood equal to a non-binary particular person, relying on how an individual defines it. 

Nevertheless, a number of points come up when individuals select to consider individuals labeled as bayot as members of the third gender as a result of Mark additionally claimed that as encompassing as it’s, a bayot can vary from an effeminate man to a transgender lady.

Within the basic rule of gender identification, a transgender lady identifies themselves as a girl, not a 3rd gender, which is the place the issue persists.

Amongst some Cebuano queers, some phrases intently resemble the that means of ‘bayot,’ which incorporates yads. It is a backward derivation from the time period ‘day which is a shortened time period of Inday, a name signal for a Cebuano woman.

One other extra archaic time period much like bayot is mahuyang, which intently means flimsy, weak, or emasculating to explain a female man.

Cebuano Queer labels

“tomboy” | Inventory photograph


One other time period broadly utilized in Cebu as a queer time period is tomboy. Whereas the time period itself didn’t originate in Cebu, Cebuanos have adopted it within the native language as an umbrella time period to seek advice from boyish women and lesbians as a complete.

Whereas the West has a number of phrases to distinguish lesbians from each other, which embody femme, butch, and chapstick lesbians, Cebuanos lack labels to distinctly label several types of lesbians who current and specific themselves otherwise.

In that sense, whereas they’ll differentiate a homosexual lady from a boyish straight lady by calling the latter tomboyon or lakin-on, there isn’t any linguistic distinction in differentiating a cisgender homosexual lady, a masculine-presenting lesbian, and a transgender man.

Cebuano Queer labels

“maya” | Inventory photograph


Curiously, whereas there may be restricted variation in Cebuanos’ label for queer people, a time period stand as an exception that Cebuano queers broadly used solely lately to label a selected sort of queer which Mark considers as a visual member within the native queer scene.

Cebuanos label a male presenting queer man as a maya, intently associated to Tagalog’s ‘paminta.’ Initially, the time period refers to a small brown hen discovered within the nation. Nevertheless, Mark and different Cebuano queers can’t supply any clarification relating to the connection between each definitions.

What’s fascinating about this label is that different Cebuano queers use maya as an umbrella time period for a male presenting queer and a bisexual man. Some even declare that one in every of such identities can’t exist with out the opposite.

In essence, some Cebuano queers consider that bisexual males are purported to current themselves in masculine expressions and clothes. In the meantime, these queer males who seem masculine are anticipated to be drawn to each sexes.

That is the place the evaluation of those labels is available in as we use these to color an image of how the native queer neighborhood in Cebu views gender and sexuality as ideas.

Exploring how SOGIE is outlined

One of many primary objectives of the queer liberation motion is the push to make individuals conscious of the 4 elements of SOGIE: Intercourse, Sexual Orientation, Gender Identification, and Gender Expression.

Intercourse. It’s an identification that’s inclined to an individual’s organic intercourse organs at start. There are solely three variations. Your intercourse can both be male, feminine, or intersex––the final class refers to these individuals whose intercourse organs don’t fall underneath the primary two classes.

Sexual Orientation. This refers to who an individual is drawn to, whether or not the alternative intercourse, the identical intercourse, or each, amongst different variations. That is the place the labels gay, heterosexual, and bisexual are available in. With current developments within the acceptance of queers, a number of different labels come up, which embody pansexuality, or the aptitude to be drawn to an individual no matter intercourse, and asexuality, or the incapability to be sexually attracted to a different particular person.

Gender Identification. Versus intercourse, this refers back to the class an individual chooses to establish with. An individual’s organic intercourse doesn’t essentially match with an individual’s gender identification, which is the place the time period transgender is available in. In some circumstances, an individual doesn’t establish with both a person or a girl, so that they select to establish underneath the nonbinary umbrella.

Gender Expression. This time period highlights the idea that how an individual expresses themselves isn’t essentially predictive of their identification. In that sense, a person can specific himself femininely and nonetheless establish as a person, which is similar means for girls.

How do labels replicate how Cebuanos view SOGIE?

A number of consultants in linguistics consider that the present phrases a sure neighborhood use replicate the side of an idea they deem essential or the extent to which they perceive these phrases.

With that being stated, the queer labels that Cebuanos have got here up with replicate how they’ve considered sexuality and gender as ideas inside their neighborhood.

As an illustration, sure assumptions can come up primarily based on the truth that Cebuanos do not need a neighborhood time period to label transgender women and men completely. They nonetheless fall underneath the queer umbrella time period, which makes it tough to distinguish their identification from cisgender queer people domestically.

Cebuano Queer

The group UP Pleasure helps the Lesbian, Homosexual, Bisexual, Transgender, and Queer neighborhood in a stroll from Gorordo Avenue to the Capitol floor. CDN FILE PHOTO/LITO TECSON

As such, whereas native acceptance of the queer neighborhood has advanced all through the years, consultants can assume that there’s a lot work to do to realize a deeper understanding of the excellence of every queer particular person’s identification.

As of this writing, there are nonetheless no native phrases used to tell apart several types of lesbians primarily based on their SOGIE. Furthermore, the time period maya could also be seen as a welcome addition to the native queer labels, however the accepted definition of the time period stays extensive amongst several types of queers.

The notions that Maya means a masculine-presenting bisexual, queer man and that one can’t exist with out the opposite contradict the idea of SOGIE that gender identification is mutually unique of an individual’s sexual orientation.

Some consultants could even declare that the truth that Cebuano transgender and effeminate bisexual people do not need a neighborhood queer label to establish with in some way makes it onerous for them to justify their existence in native queer areas.

To label every native queer identification is to acknowledge that queer individuals have various experiences primarily based on their SOGIE, nevertheless it doesn’t take away the truth that all of them undergo from a collective battle.

It’s protected to say that the necessity for extra native queer labels doesn’t and shouldn’t invalidate the collective battle that Cebuano queers face.

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